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£866m government investment in housing projects

Words: Laura Edgar
Primary school / iStock-483257790

Housing secretary Sajid Javid and chancellor Philip Hammond have announced that 133 council-led projects across England will receive funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to support local work to make housing developments viable.

The government hopes the funding will get homes built quicker and help it to achieve its target to build £300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

This £866 million is the first phase of funding from the £5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, which was increased by £2.7 billion in the 2017 Autumn Budget. According to the government, this latest investment will help to get work started on up to 200,000 homes.

Two funding streams make up the Housing Infrastructure Fund:

  • A Marginal Viability Fund: This is available to all single and lower-tier local authorities in England and aims to provide a piece of infrastructure funding to get additional sites allocated or existing sites unblocked quickly. Bids can be up to £10 million.
  • A Forward Fund: This is available to the uppermost tier of local authorities in England – for a small number of strategic and high-impact infrastructure projects. Bids can be up to £250 million.

The money will go towards funding key local infrastructure projects, including new roads, cycle paths, flood defences and land remediation work. Without such work, the projects receiving funding would struggle to get started, explained the government.

Hammond said: “This fund finances vital infrastructure such as roads, schools and bridges, which will kick-start housing development in some of Britain’s highest-demand areas.

“This support will help us meet our ambitious plan of building 300,000 new homes each year and ensure tha we have enough housing in areas which need it most.”

Javid added that the money will make a “huge difference” to communities.

The projects to receive funding include:

  • £10 million to be invested in highway infrastructure at the Ashton Green housing site in Leicester to unlock 3,300 homes.
  • £10 million for the construction of a bypass in Botley, Hampshire, that is expected to unlock 1,000 new homes.
  • £3.6 million for drainage works, new roads and footpaths at the Manor Cluster, south-east Sheffield. This will help to unlock more than 400 homes by 2025.
  • £6.5 million to help build a primary school as part of the Ilfracombe Southern Extension in North Devon, in turn unlocking 750 homes.

Grant Lipton, co-founder of Great Marlborough Estates, said: “Homes cannot be built out without the schools, roads and essential utilities that we need for life. This policy will help us deliver the infrastructure that we need, and so set the scenes for housing development. Importantly, this is being delivered at the local level using the localised knowledge of authorities to provide what people need, in innovative ways. The next step would be to spend to increase investment on larger infrastructure projects as we need to improve connectivity in our cities, from within and between them.”

John Fuller, chairman of the District Councils’ Network, said the money is a “welcome boost” to district councils.

“District councils, who are responsible for approving 90 per cent of planning applications, and enabled almost half of all housing completions in the last year, welcome this support for local councils which will help unlock our potential to accommodate growing communities, ease pressures on public services and tackle the housing crisis.”

More information about the Housing Infrastructure Fund and the successful projects can be found on the UK Government website.

Image credit | iStock